Lacrosse Goalie + Student: Tips for the Student-Athlete
By Coach Damon on January 12, 2016
Let’s step outside the crease and talk about an important off-field issue that impacts every lacrosse goalie below the professional level: being a student-athlete.
If you’re playing lacrosse at any level below the pro’s you’re also a student.
Balancing the demands of the modern day student along with the hours spent on the lacrosse field is a very tough proposition.
Some lacrosse goalies even contemplate not playing the sport in high school or college because the demands of academics and a sports team are too great.
To me this is a major injustice as I think the sport of lacrosse gives so much to your life and it pains me when a goalie would not take advantage of this amazing time in his or her life.
So let’s discuss some tips for being a great lacrosse goalie on the field and a great student in the classroom.
To be a successful student-athlete you must have your priorities in order.
I’ve learned this from previous sports coaches in my life and its something I continue to use when I coach teams.
On my teams, here’s your priority:
Sticking firmly to this set of priorities will help you reach your highest potential not only in lacrosse but in life.
Now, I don’t care what faith you practice. But a strong faith is a great source of strength for coaches and players alike.
We can also have faith in our teammates. Faith that every member on the field is giving everything he/she has. A team bound by faith can achieve amazing results.
People who make faith their number 1 priority have a strong foundation from which to approach life’s challenges.
The next priority is our family.
As goalies, we need a strong support system (especially those lacking a goalie coach) and it starts with the family.
Young men and women who don’t have a strong family values often suffer on the lacrosse field.
Why is it importance that we focus on academics at all?
Let’s consider this: the MLL currently has 8 teams.
If each team has a starting goalie and a backup goalie, that means there are only 16 professional lacrosse goalies in the world!
Are you one the best 16 goalies in world? Odds are no. So you can’t plan on making a living playing professional lacrosse.
The odds are also against you if you are a high school goalie looking to play in college. Albeit there’s a much stronger chance of playing in college its still difficult at our position given that only 1 goalie plays during the game.
That’s where academics comes in. School prepares our minds for success in the real world.
The education we receive from universities is invaluable to developing our intelligence and character in life. It gives us the skills we need to make a living. It gives us the foundation to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or mechanic.
Point is, academics is important and hard work in the classroom is a little more important than hard work on the lacrosse field.
And finally we get to lacrosse.
We sometimes focus so much on winning lacrosse games that we lose focus of what makes us a great person outside of the crease and away from the lax field.
Lacrosse is certainly an important element in our lives, but it’s the 4th priority.
You know what’s absent from this list? Partying with your friends, playing Xbox, looking at photos on Instagram, etc. That’s because these are not priorities in your life and they should not be taking any of your precious time.
Many players are concerned that the demands of sport and school are too strong to continue playing goalie. But if we have our priorities straight, you’ll suddenly find there’s a lot more time for the things that matter in your life.
If there’s one thing you’ll need to learn to handle the demands of lacrosse and academics, it’s proper time management.
Just look at the normal week for an NCAA D1 lacrosse goalie.
If you’re a student-athlete you’ve made two major commitments: lacrosse and school. Each must be honored properly.
When its time to study, you have to focus. And when its time to take shots, you have to focus.
If your head is in another place while doing either task, you’re wasting time.
Having less time can actually be beneficial for helping focus when you realize that procrastination is not an option.
During my college days at California I was actually a better student in the spring time during the lacrosse season.
In the fall, with no daily lacrosse I knew I had other time to finish my school work and would always slack off. But in the spring, there was no time.
When I was studying, I was fully devoted to studying. When I was playing goalie I was fully devoted to playing goalie. When I was working, I was fully devoted to working.
To become a successful student-athlete you’ll need to develop systems for proper time management. But the good news is, these systems are valuable in life, not just when you’re a student-athlete.
Since we now understand how important time management is to ensuring that we can successfully juggle the demands of lacrosse and school, let’s explore some specific time management tips.
Here are my tips for how great lacrosse goalies / students successfully ace time management:
- Great lacrosse goalies get organized and stay organized. Purchase a big wall calendar and put it in your room. Fill that calendar with every one of your priorities. Write down all your school demands – all homework due dates, all projects, all papers, all tests. Now in a different color write down everything lacrosse related – practice times, game time, gym times. Every week review and update your calendar as necessary. Having something large and visual will really help ensure none of your priorities get lost.
- Great lacrosse goalies manage their time. With competing demands placed on your time, you must plan your known time schedule. Known times are school time, lacrosse game and practice time, and travel time to and from school, as well as travel time to and from sports practices and events. By blocking this known time on your calendar, you can determine your actual homework time and study time.
- Great lacrosse goalies plan their week; and don’t let their week plan them. Look at your calendar and note when you have projects due, tests scheduled, and practices and games scheduled. Plan how you will study and when you will study.
- Great lacrosse goalies use their weekends wisely. Use your weekend as preparation time for the week ahead. Start homework for the upcoming week. Read chapters and take notes ahead of time. Use this time to plan for and prepare for projects and papers that are due.
- Great lacrosse goalies use their travel time to and from school, practices, and games wisely. Review notes, read chapters, study, or read books. Another tip – use audiobooks while traveling and read along. On plane trips or bus rides to away games, make sure you’re using this free time to get school work done.
- Great lacrosse goalies do not procrastinate. Do assignments as soon as they are given, rather than waiting until the last minute. Poor planning and waiting until the last minute will result in missed practices or missed games.
- Great lacrosse goalies do not get behind. Whether this pertains to homework, schoolwork, grades, or sports practices, it is easier to stay ahead of schoolwork rather than to play catch up with grades, missed assignments, or missed sporting events.
- Great lacrosse goalies take advantage of study halls and free periods. Do homework, ask for help, study, and get ahead of your work. At one school that my children attended, there was no requirement for children to do work in study hall. Children were permitted to relax, listen to music (with ear buds), and text, with no expectation that work would be done. Guess what the children did in study hall? They relaxed, listened to music, and texted. No schoolwork was done. While the students thought this was great, this is clearly not a good way to take advantage of the study halls and free periods that can greatly aid student athletes in balancing school work and sports activities.
- Great lacrosse goalies take advantage of school resources, such as tutors. Many sports teams want their athletes to succeed in school and offer programs to help their athletes. If your school or community offers these opportunities, take them.
I had such an amazing experience playing college athletics that I recommend everyone go for it.
Sure balancing the sports and students life at the same time is challenging but everything that’s good in life is challenging.
At the end of this challenge is a wealth of life skills like confidence, leadership, and teamwork. In addition a wealth of lifetime friends.
At no other time in your life will you be presented with an opportunity to play lacrosse goalie.
Sure after school, there’s club teams that you can play for, but believe me, the passion, teamwork, excitement is about 10% of what high school or college lacrosse is.
So for anyone even contemplating playing goalie in high school or college, do me and yourself a favor, DO IT!
There’s no doubt that studying and playing lacrosse at the same time is a tough challenge.
But it’s 100% worth it! For me, there is no doubt about that.
There’s no other time in your life when you get the experience of playing lacrosse goalie for your school’s team. The challenge is 100% worth the reward.
Get your priorities in order and learn great time management skills and you’ll be well on your way to dominating in the classroom and on the lacrosse field.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Any other tips for juggling lacrosse goalie and school at the same time? Let me know in the comments.